Category Archives: Breastfeeding

Mothering Through Breastfeeding – the sequel

This article first appeared in Le Leche’s breastfeeding magazine ‘Breastfeeding Matters’, July/August 2015, edition 208. DSCN0679

Caroline tells us about her tandem nursing experience, and how breastfeeding has always felt like the natural choice for her and her babies.

As I write this, my son and daughter’s tandem nursing days are drawing to a close, as Ewan is gradually and naturally weaning from the breast. He is four and a half years old. His younger sister, Tessa, now twenty months, nurses day and night. Words can never do justice to what my life has been like since having children; they have been the most eventful, joyous, challenging, memorable, exhausting and reflective years of my life, filled with laughter and tears. I have learnt to juggle, both physically and emotionally, two growing nurslings. My children have taught me more than I ever imagined, about myself, about breastfeeding and about life. Below I share a little of this enfolding journey, of mothering, of breastfeeding, and how the two converge.

Pregnancy

Nursing remained a place of sanctuary, support and comfort to Ewan throughout his third year. He persisted, even when there was little milk left as my pregnancy developed, seeing this out to the day I went into labour. As Tessa grew inside me, so did the unwelcome feeling of being ‘touched out’. These strong feelings were telling me to push Ewan away. I struggled to come to terms with the first negative feelings around feeding Ewan, which left me guilt-ridden and shocked. This was compounded with the physical challenge of nursing while pregnant, as my nipples became sore and my bump grew bigger. I persisted by placing boundaries on when Ewan could feed and for how long, not feeling ready to completely wean him yet.

I vividly recall Ewan’s last feed as an only child, the day I went into labour. As we lay snuggled up in bed I silently wept, aware the next time he fed would be radically different and that our relationship would alter once the new baby came along. Ewan was oblivious to my tears as he fell asleep dreamily on the breast. A few hours later, my parents came to collect Ewan, leaving me to labour in peace with my husband, and later, my independent midwife. My hope was for a natural home-birth this time, having experienced an emergency caesarean under general anaesthetic with Ewan. Continue reading Mothering Through Breastfeeding – the sequel

Mothering Through Breastfeeding Part Two: Ten to eighteen months

This article was first published in May/June 2012 edition of La Leche League’s Breastfeeding Matters magazine

 

Practising sustained breastfeeding
Practising sustained breastfeeding

I wrote about the first ten months of breastfeeding my son in March 2011. My closing comments were: ‘I am looking forward to continuing to breastfeed Ewan as he grows into a toddler [… ] Like all journeys I am not aiming for the destination but the experience along the way. This journey so far has taught me more than I ever imagined, about myself, my baby, our amazing bodies, our culture, and opened me up to new ways of seeing’.
Continue reading Mothering Through Breastfeeding Part Two: Ten to eighteen months

‘Musings on Mothering’ anthology review

Here is a review of the anthology ‘Musings on Mothering ’, edited by Teika Bellamy, published by Mother’s Milk Books. As a contributor to this anthology, a great supporter of it and of La Leche League, I feel it is time to write some more about it. I have already written an introductory post about this anthology, in a blog post posted on October 2nd, entitled ‘Newsflash; ‘Musings on Motherings’ anthology has just been released’. I hope that by reviewing this anthology more people will feel inspired to read this book and feel comforted by its central message.

The message at the heart of this book is that mothering through breastfeeding is the norm. This is a refreshing and somewhat rare take on this most natural of human behaviours, nursing our young. This is because we live in a society where breastfeeding is a marginalised, misunderstood, shrouded and truncated activity, if it takes place at all, steeped in myths and falsehoods. Essentially it places nursing at centre stage, as the activity from which other mothering behaviours stem, instead of as the more typical mechanisation of nursing, where it is separated from other aspects of mothering as simply a way to feed our babies.

The market is crying out for more books which help to normalise and demystify breastfeeding, basically to position breastfeeding as a normal, everyday, open, accepted and celebrated behaviour which mothers simply do with their young children. Contributor after contributor allows the reader to glimpse a little of their parenting world, helping to lift the veil on nursing, through the beautifully written poems and prose, as well as the wonderfully crafted art and craft work. The anthology cleverly weaves the many pieces together in such a way that a thread of celebration is felt, a celebration of mothering through nursing.

The rich variety of the content and the creativity evident in each of the pieces is to be applauded. The writing fits neatly with the art and photo work, for instance on the same double page spread of Cindi Eastman’s ‘The Answer I Keep in my Heart’, where she explores the reasons she is naturally weaning her son, there is a beautiful photo of a toddler nursing, by Alex Simon entitled ‘The Softest Place on Earth’. The prose and the photo, though from different contributor’s, perfectly complement each other.
Continue reading ‘Musings on Mothering’ anthology review

Breastfeeding in a public place: one woman’s story. Part Two

See last week for the first installment of this story

Reaching out for support

Shocked that such judgemental Victorian attitudes still exist, Louisa opened up the issue for debate on the popular social networking site Facebook, asking;

‘Why is there so much shame involved in this subject that it has become the mother’s fault? Why should we need to apologise in advance? Why did my ‘style’ of feeding mean that lady was justified in discriminating against me? This whole situation is unnatural and unpalatable.’

In doing so she opened up a can of worms; a thorny, massively contentious issue which crosses countless personal, social, political, emotional, historical, sexual and economic lines.
Continue reading Breastfeeding in a public place: one woman’s story. Part Two

Breastfeeding in a public place: one woman’s story. Part One

These posts describe the experience of a nursing mother who was asked to leave a cafe in Devon, how she dealt with this request and the after effects, both short and longer-term.

A request to leave

Louisa is sitting feeding her three-month-old son discreetly in a small cafe in Devon, England. Unexpectedly, the cafe owner (we shall call her Karen) walks up to her in a confrontational manner and asks her to leave. Taken aback, Louisa asks why. Karen, a woman in her fifties, explains that she finds breastfeeding inappropriate and dirty, and is worried she will scare off other customers, of which at present there are none!
Continue reading Breastfeeding in a public place: one woman’s story. Part One

Night nursing

In support of National Poetry Day 04/10/12

Night nursing

The still, dark hours of nursing,

Peaceful half waking as the stars shine

Light, this moment etched on my soul,

Precious time, it is only you and me.

We are mammals nesting, drifting through the small hours,

Warm skin to skin into ourselves.

Little fingers twirling, twiddling round my hair

Gripping, grasping and reaching, your strength to nurse,

My need to nurture, to mother, fulfilled.

Oxytocin racing through me, I am flooded with wellbeing,

Calming in the long journey of motherhood.

Continue reading Night nursing

Newsflash; ‘Musings on Motherings’ anthology has just been released

 

I wanted to share with you the recent publication of this beautiful anthology of poems and art about pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding, published by Mother’s Milk Books, an independent publisher producing books that normalize breastfeeding.Regrettably, there exist few books on the market which really normalise the baby-mother dyad, so this publishers is attempting to fill this gap, a worthwhile, courageous ambition, one I very much hope will be achieved.

I have been lucky enough to be a contributor to this anthology, under the first of eight sections in the book, ‘Broody to birth’, an excerpt from Ewan’s birth story, called ‘When the spell was broken’. I have learnt a lot by working with the editor of Mother’s Milk Books, Teika Bellamy, and thank her for all her support with my writing. I very much hope to have further contact with her in the future in the role as writer.
Continue reading Newsflash; ‘Musings on Motherings’ anthology has just been released